The Pittsburgh Pirates have the best outfielder in the National League in Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen is by far the Pirates most productive player, but can he produce more than he already is? Clint Hurdle’s answer to that question is yes. Hurdle has been transformed from an old-minded baseball guy, to now involving new ideas in the use of Sabermetrics (I wrote a previous article explaining the basis of Sabermetrics). Sabermetrics are statistics that were created in the late 1970’s, but they were not used because no one wanted to adopt new ideas. Clint Hurdle has adopted the use of Sabermetrics, and the Pirates are one of the few teams that use them. Hurdle is now leaping into a new, unused realm of baseball practices- rest.
The Golden State Warriors are leading the NBA currently, and have an MVP front runner in Stephen Curry. Curry has had the best production of his career, but he has played the second least minutes of his career. The Warriors have been resting their core players to try to get better results, and it has worked. Hurdle said, ” We’re looking for how it can apply to baseball. We’re looking to try to be creative and find different ways to do things.(Pittsburgh Tribune Review)” Hurdle has switched mindsets of things have always been done this way, to now how can we change it and make it better for our players and team.
Andrew McCutchen has played in an average of 157 games between the 2010 to 2013 seasons. Last season McCutchen played in 146 games because he went on the 15 day-DL (Disabled List) for the first time his career. Hurdle is looking to get more out of the productive McCutchen by just giving him some days off.
How can the Pirates afford to give their best players days off? Super Utility players. The Pirates have 5 guys who are utility players, but 3 of them are super utility players. Josh Harrison can play 3B, SS, 2B, LF, and RF, and Sean Rodriguez can play the same spots across the diamond. Jung-Ho Kang is the 3rd Super Utility guy, and is an infield specialist. Corey Hart and Andrew Lambo can be used to play 1st base and the corner outfield positions.
The Pirates will be able to give their core players an extra day off here and there because this is the most talented and deepest roster that Hurdle has ever managed. You are going to see the Pirates use 10 or 11 starters over the course of this season. This will allow for the core players to get rested and be able to perform at high levels come October. Another thing, the Pirates new motto for this season, “And Then Some”. The Pirates know that they need to do exactly what they have done over the past two season to make a postseason run, “And Then Some”.